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WHAT CAUSES PUFFINESS & DARK EYE CIRCLES?

Let’s kick off with a little Gray’s Anatomy-type lesson. Our eyes need extra lovin’ because the surrounding skin is breathtakingly brittle. “It’s approximately one-tenth the thickness of our palms,” notes Dr. Lieve Declercq, vice president for Basic Science Research Europe & Asia and global spokesperson for Origins.

As for the whys and wherefores of puffiness and dark eye circles, Jason Matthews, skincare expert from the R&D division of The Body Shop Singapore, says you can rack it up once again to the flimsy fragility of the orbital area: “The skin underneath the eyes is thinner and capillaries beneath this thin dermis are often prone to breaking due to stress and sun damage, causing the dark discolouration.”

THE DARK CIRCLE COLOUR CHART

Here’s a neat little self-evaluation exercise you can carry out right now. All you need to do is look down into a mirror placed flat on a table to locate the crescent-shaped wedge beneath your eyes – Dr Declercq says that the specific shade of the shadowy region can be a clue to the cause of your circles.

An ashen grey cast and chances are your complications are due to the pooling of bluish blood from broken capillaries; pronounced purplish pigmentation, on the other hand, tends to be pollution- and allergy-related. Brown blotches, meanwhile, are more likely to develop in darker-skinned individuals.

Translation: You’ll need separate products to address your eyes’ exquisitely unique demands. Some fun ways to mix things up a little:

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Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex II, $94, and Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II, $100

1. CONCOCT AN EYE-FRIENDLY COCKTAIL

Bottoms up, baby blues! Dark circles may be enough to drive you to drink, but let’s channel the chagrin to more constructive ends. In the spirit of molecular dermatology, go ahead and stir up your own bespoke beautifying blend.

Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder’s global makeup artistry director, has an really cool recipe for a rejuvenating midday fix. For a smoothening sheer-coverage base, try using one part eye serum to two parts of your go-to concealer; the maquillage master recommends mixing a generous glob of Estee Lauder’s new Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex onto the back of your hand and using an angled brush for precision application. 

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Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel Cream, $49, and Laneige Dark Circle Concealer Kit, $35

Laneige Singapore trainer Tina Oh agrees as much, saying we should feel free to experiment with varying proportions of an eye gel and cream concealer on a clean makeup palette, until you snag a souffle-like mousse that’s perfect for pampering your peepers – sort of like brushing on a tinted treatment that comforts and conceals at the same time. (And while we’re having a concealer conversation, check out my makeup manual on covering up dark circles.)

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SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Eye, $113, and The Face Shop Flebote White Crystal Luxury Eye Serum, $52.90

Your eye regime should echo that of your multi-step facial one: Layer lighter lotions under heavier creams. Need product recommendations? I’m personally very much taken by the silky salves from SK-II and The Face Shop; the former’s fantastic new Facial Treatment Essence Eye is essentially an amped up version of the Japanese prestige brand’s legendary “miracle water”, while the latter’s Flebote White Crystal Luxury Eye Serum is billed as a brightening balm with potent pearl and pine-cone extracts.

If you’re leery of loading on too much product, Tina Oh says blending is of the essence: “Be sure to tap all of it in until your fingers come off dry, not damp; this will allow makeup to adhere better and ensure your lids don’t turn greasy.”

2. ‘EYE CANDY’: FOOD IN EYE CREAMS

Feast your eyes on these tasty tips and tricks, starting with this palette-cleansing libation from Laneige Singapore trainer Tina Oh: “To soothe puffiness and reduce dark circles, try squeezing the juice of half a lemon into a glass of warm water. Drink it the first thing in the morning to detoxify and prevent the formation of bags under the eyes.”

Draping slices of cool cucumber over your lids may seem like the ultimate chick flick cliche, but Tina Oh says the astringent juices of the vegetable are a tried and test way of lending an instant lift to your lids. Another neat idea: Recycle used tea bags by chucking them in an airtight container in the fridge, for easy retrieval whenever you need a quick fix.

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Sisley Supremÿa Yeux La Nuit, $345

Another pantry staple can be sampled by way of the ubiquitous use of topical caffeine in the suite of creams lining your cosmetics aisle. A superb stimulant for soothing saggy skin under your eyes and indeed, just about anywhere on your face and body, caffeine’s ability to constrict blood vessels may be bad for your body, but when diffused through your delicate orbital skin, it’s said to be a powerful placater of puffiness.

Look for caffeine in the labels of your depuffing eye gels – I’ll be willing to wager a beauty bet that it’ll be there. I’m a superfan of Sisley’s sumptuous Supremÿa Yeux, which boasts a proprietary botanical blend of caffeine, detoxifying acai and yeast extracts, all of which are said to work in tandem to encourage lymphatic drainage and lend your eyes a luxe twinkle. Not going to lie, this is going to make quite the dent in your wallet, but what price beauty?

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The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso 2 in 1 Brightening Eye Cream, $44.90

Jason Matthews, skincare expert from the R&D division of The Body Shop Singapore, says shiso leaf is the latest skin saviour. More recognisable as the green garnish gracing Japanese grub, Jason says the newly unearthed heroine ingredient is a “known natural brightener” with potent antioxidative powers: “The Shiso complex in The Body Shop’s Moisture White Shiso 2 in 1 Brightening Eye Cream features a potent combination believed to reduce early melanin-making signals for brighter, more luminous skin.” There, another veggie to add to to the mushrooming list of skin-friendly superfoods.  

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Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Bright Eye Illuminating Cream, $80

Dabbing our way from one Asian-inspired ingredient to another, Dr. Lieve Declercq, vice president of Basic Science Research Europe & Asia and global spokesperson for Origins says the brand’s Mega-Bright Eye Illuminating Cream uses ume, otherwise known as Japanese apricot, because of the fruit’s potential to “shatter the look of dark circles”.

3. ROLLING IN THE DEEP: COOL NEW APPLICATORS

Most of the thingamajigs featured above come complete with their own high tech accoutrements. Jason Matthews, skincare expert from the R&D division of The Body Shop Singapore, says that the metal applicator of The Body Shop’s Moisture White Shiso 2 in 1 Brightening Eye Cream plays a crucial therapeutic role in de-puffing and soothing dry eyes: “Apply directly under the eye and on the eyelids, moving the applicator outwards from the inner corner of your eyes.”

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Origins No Puffery Roller Ball, $55

Meanwhile, Origins Singapore’s education manager Angie Leng says that the brand’s No Puffery Roller Ball’s well, rollerball makes for a fab quick fix that both maximises microcirculation and rids you of water retention: “Be sure to focus on the pressure points at the brow bone as well as on the inner and outer eye corners, which are the key points for the drainage of toxins.”

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Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Contouring Eye Lift, $198

Finally, this story would be remiss without mentioning the marvel that is Estee Lauder’s Re-Nutriv Ultimate Contouring Eye Lift, a terrific tool that comes with a thumb-sized NASA-grade ceramic applicator that’s said to keep the product at a constantly cool, perfectly plumping temperature. The custardy cream itself contains exotic tourmaline, a semi-precious stone said to be cherished by African shamans for its near-miraculous healing properties. The happiest marriage between spage-age tech and New Agey mysticism, if you ask me. (Yours truly is a Lauder fan, if you haven’t figured that out already. Take this as a personal endorsement!)

Beauty bonus: Rinse out the applicator when the product proper has run its course, and stash it for use as a massage tool for creams that don’t come with a rollerball. Pretty neat, huh? Almost as good a recycling tip as the astonishingly ingenious ways you can reuse an old mascara brush.

So, to recap. Stir in a soothing spoonful of eye serum to your concealers to create a custom cream; eat, drink and slather your way to pretty peepers; and zero in on the glitziest grooming gadgets. “Eye” hope this was an enlightening read!

Want more? Check out these fabulous face wipes that do an ace job of scouring your skin of dirt and debris, Get off on the right foot with this handy (or is that foot-sy) guide to getting your legs and feet in tip-top shape. Get your daily dose of beauty at www.herworldplus.com/beauty.